10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Restoration Contractor

In the aftermath of a disaster like a hurricane or fire, locating the right restoration company to get you back to normal may seem intimidating. Especially under such difficult circumstances, where time is of the essence, choosing the right company is critical.

How can you be sure you are making a smart choice? With just a little research and a few questions, you can avoid the costly mistake of hiring a company that is either not qualified or incapable of completing your restoration promptly and effectively. Here is what you should ask the restoration company you intend to hire:

1.  Is your company licensed and bonded?

In many states, general contractors and restoration companies must be registered with the state. This is your “insurance” in the event there is a need to resolve any legal issues with the company.

2.  Do your technicians have the necessary certifications?

In addition to proper licensing, restoration technicians should be trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

3.  Is your company insured?

Be sure the company is covered by both general liability and worker’s compensation coverage before hiring them. Contractors obviously do their best to avoid causing accidental structural damage or injuries to workers during the restoration process. If additional damage or an injury does occur, the cost should be covered by the company’s insurance. Make sure your contractor has these policies and they are up to date before you hire them, since you might be liable for damages, medical bills, and other costs if the contractor doesn’t have them.

4.  Are your technicians available immediately?

Since emergencies don’t usually wait until 9:00 on Monday, neither should your restoration contractor. Professional restoration companies should be available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year. Since all disaster situations require immediate attention to avoid additional damage, responsible restoration companies will also be able to send technicians to inspect and contain the problem as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours.

5.  Do you provide any warranties?

Some companies have guarantees and/or warranties for their work and materials. If not discussed on their website, you should ask if they have warranties for the type of work you are seeking, what those warranties will cover, and for how long.

6.  What restoration experience do you have?

Just as with any job, experience is a major factor. Many “restoration companies” are general contractors who mostly remodeling jobs and once or twice each year pick up a major fire, flood, or hurricane restoration. Many of these contractors are not experts in water extraction or mold prevention, which is critical as a majority of restoration projects involve significant water exposure. Some contractors do restoration exclusively. Ask the company how many projects they have done like yours in the last year, and how long they’ve been in business, to determine their level of experience

7.  How long will the restoration project take?

In most restoration cases there is significant water or flood damage. It is critical that the flooded areas be dried within 1 to 3 days of the incident. If not, the stagnant water can grow bacteria and mold. Since urgency is a factor, make sure your restoration contractor can accommodate the proper time frames for each stage of your project.

8.  What Would Your Past Customers Say About the Work You Do?

Ask the company for a list of referrals to speak with past clients. In some situations, like when a hurricane or flood has caused wide-spread damage to an area, the full time restoration contractor may not be in a position to provide referrals. That’s why it is also important to search for reviews and ratings online. Understand that not every review may be perfect – what you are looking for is a pattern of broken promises and deadlines, or sub-standard work. When there is an “unhappy” review, check to see how the company handled the complaint – this is a good indication of how your concerns will be addressed.

9.  Does your company have a local office or are you just here for this emergency?

Before you hire any restoration contractor in Gainesville, Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River or the greater Central Florida area, it is a good idea to find out where the contractor is located. Some contractors follow storms and floods to capitalize on extensive damage to a local area. They are here for the disaster, and then onto the next. It is a good idea to make sure the contractor you select will be there for you after the storm.

10. Does your company do more than just dry-out my property?

Some restoration contractors only do the dry-out portion of the restoration, leaving you to find another party (or parties) to finish the job. Multiple contractors complicate the insurance process and typically extend the amount of time to get you back to normal again.

Finally, make sure you get a contract with specified services that you can expect and a clear timeline for completion. Using these 10 questions you should be able to identify the most qualified contractors in your area. For professional fire, hurricane and flood water restoration services in Central Florida contact OneRestore.

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